Thursday, April 1, 2010

World's largest experiment set to go off with a Big Bang.

An international team of over 2,000 scientists, led by Professor Tejinder Virdee from Imperial College London's Department of Physics is stepping up for the world's largest ever physics experiment, at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland.

It is the most ambitious and expensive civilian science experiment in history, using the biggest machine yet built.

The Large Hadron Collider is aiming to unlock the secrets of how the universe began. Scientists will use it to try to recreate the conditions that existed just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang — the birth of the universe — by smashing pieces of atoms together at high speed.

After almost two decades of planning and construction, the project in question will finally get under way. Some 10,000 scientists and engineers from 85 countries have been involved. In the years ahead it will recreate the high-energy conditions that existed one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

In doing so, it should solve many of the most enduring mysteries of the Universe.

Most experts believe the explosions created when the particles hit each other will reveal the basic building blocks of everything around us. There are some, however, who fear it could destroy the planet.

This massive experiment will create more than 15 million gigabytes of data every year — the equivalent of 21.4 million CDs. The scientists have had to design a new form of the internet to cope with the data.
Among the particles the scientists will hunt for is the Higgs boson, a cornerstone of modern physics that is thought to be responsible for giving every other particle a mass, or weight.

The temperatures produced by these collisions will be 100,000 times hotter than the centre of the sun and scientists believe this will be powerful enough to reveal the first particles that existed in the moments immediately after the birth of the universe.

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